Bad Landlords: A Guide for Dealing with Difficult Property Owners

our advice

Renting property is no bad thing – and is becoming an increasingly popular option as housing prices have accelerated in recent years. Millennials have even been dubbed as “generation rent”, as more and more people born in that generation are opting to rent rather than saving to buy.

Renting comes with the plus of freedom. As long as you comply with the tenancy agreement, you can move on at any time – so it works well for people who have to move around a lot for work, or just aren’t sure where they want to settle yet. However, it comes with the downside of always having the property owner to answer to – and if they’re difficult, then this can cause problems.

Living with a bad or difficult landlord can be an enormous strain, and can cause a lot of unnecessary stress for the tenants. Today, we’re going to be giving our guide on how to deal with difficult landlords, and what your rights actually are.

One of the first things we would advise – or even insist – you do, is read the small print prior to signing your tenancy agreement.

  • It can be extremely exciting when you find the property you love – and you might just want to get it signed and sealed.
  • However, it is SO important to read the tenancy agreement in full, otherwise you don’t know what it is you’re really signing up for.
  • If you do this, and there’s anything that you’re unsure about, then ask the property owner about it BEFORE signing. If you do it after signing, then there’s nothing to dispute, whereas if there’s something disagreeable before signing, then there’s a chance you could come to an agreement.
  • So yes, it might seem like a nuisance but read the agreement in full. Therefore, you’ll know your rights if any issues are to arise.

A lot of landlord-tenant fallouts revolve around one thing, money:

  • Always ensure that you pay your rent on time, otherwise you automatically give a difficult landlord a reason to be difficult.
  • If you’re struggling to pay your rent for whatever reason, be honest with your landlord and talk to them. You may be able to come to a temporary payment agreement that works for both of you without any confrontation.
  • If your issues aren’t with money, but are instead with organisation, then be sure to set a reminder of sorts for the day your rent is due. An alarm on your phone, or organising a direct debit with your bank is a great example of this.

The less you give a difficult landlord to complain about, the easier it’ll be. Trust us.

Voluntary repossession is where you give up your home, and hand the keys back to your lender. However, there are some reasons why you should never choose to do this:

  • It affects your credit rating, still.
  • It also does not clear the debt or your mortgage payment at all.
  • You’ll still be responsible for paying the costs of monthly mortgage payments, arrears repayment and other things such as insurance etc. You’ll also be expected to reimburse the cost of your lender selling the property on.
  • It may also well be the case that the council deem you as intentionally homeless, which immediately eliminates their responsibility of having to rehouse you.

If despite doing all of the above, you still feel you’re being unfairly treat, be sure to keep a note of how:

  • Keeping a record of any issues and altercations is important – be sure to note the time and date of them, as well as the nature.
  • This means that should you have to take things further; you have an actual record of what happened and when.
  • If you have an in person dispute, it’s no bad thing to have a witness there – so for any meetings discussing heated issues, take a reliable person.
  • Even if your landlord hasn’t done anything, keep records of all official files and documents.

Finally, above all else, it’s so important to know your rights:

  • Only by knowing your rights can you truly know when your landlord is crossing the mark.
  • Check out local laws, and always refer back to the original agreement you both signed. Then you’ll know whether or not your landlord is in breach of it.
  • If you do want to take action, we would recommended starting by sending a letter (and keeping a copy) to your landlord directly.

Legal action should always be a last resort – but it’s not an impossibility. Ensure you’re sticking to your side of the agreement, know your rights, and you can’t go wrong.

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